# Calculating Room Square Footage For Speakers (not as dumb as you think)

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by JustinJB, Sep 14, 2006.

1. ### JustinJB Extra

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Okay, I'm not a total idiot ;-)...I'm well aware that square footage is length times width, okie dokie. However, this is where it gets sticky...

I'm helping my parents set-up an entry level HD home theater in their basement. The attached diagram better illustrates the floorplan than any written description could. I should note that it is very close to scale, with each block representing 1 square foot.

If you'll note, there is a 10 foot long rectangle drawn approx right center of the diagram. This represents the couch that will be used for seating in front of the television. The wall in front of it [EDIT: in reference to the 10 foot wall to the far right of the diagram; to the right of the couch rectangle] is where the TV will be. If you can imagine the back [EDIT: left] part of the couch forming the boundary of the "entertainment area", then one could see that part of the basement occupies 100 square feet.

My question is this: the speakers I am looking at buying are rated for approximatly 400 square feet. Is that in referance to the square footage of the area that is devoted to entertainment, or to the entire open-air volume of the room itself?

Using the same diagram, I've determined that the entire basement is +/- 476 square feet, which is a notable bit over the recommended square footage for the speakers. However, I should note that the cielings are 80" tall, which is a bit over 6.6 feet. Perhaps when the manufacturer said 400 square feet, they were assuming to 8' ceilings?

I think I'll be alright with these speakers in the arrangement I've proposed, but I want to get a few opinions first.

As an FYI, the speakers Im looking at are a 5.1 system by Athena (Micra 6). In terms of placement, the two fronts will obviously flank the TV, with the center channel either above or below it. The two satallites (can never spell that word) will go on either side of the couch, on stands.

2. ### Bob McElfresh Producer

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Hey Justin. While I love the precision/design of what you are doing, it's less important than you think.

There is a difference between a MUSIC and a MOVIE system.

Music systems try to create the concert-experience .. from the next room.

Movie systems surround a few seats with an array of speakers and the volume/sound only needs to sound good at those seats.

This is why you can use small (and even in-expensive) speakers, lower power electronics and have a great HT system.

The one thing that a big space might cause problems with is: the subwoofer. You can go with the Athena speakers, buy you might consider a different woofer.

Hope this helps.

3. ### JustinJB Extra

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Thanks a bunch, def. appreciate it. I was milling over what to do with the sub. Being as this isn't a system that's for me specifically (just providing recommendations), and being as the individuals who are actually getting it aren't nearly as particular as I am, I think I'll just "get it and see." If it turns out to be inadequate, I'll probably pick them up a better model for christmas.

4. ### Bob McElfresh Producer

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True story: several years ago an administrator here with about \$25,000 sunk into his his dedicated HT room went to his in-laws for a holiday dinner. There, they showed him a inexpensive Home Theater in a Box that they had bought. Since the Admin was 'into' home theater, they wonderd if he could set it up.

Frustrated that they did not consult him before the purchase, he proceded to setup the \$550 system and the family watched 2 recent DVD movies on the new system.

After the second movie, the Admin excused himself and ran home. He took his own copy of one of the movies and fired it up on his system. Yes, the movie sounded better on his more expensive system, but not nearly 10 times better that would match the price difference in the equipment.

He wrote about this experience here and it caused lots of thoughts and theories as to why a inexpensive system could sound pretty good.

It came down to a few things:

- He setup the inexpensive system properly
- Movies are NOT about accuracy, but about impact
- Movies are visual instead of aural-only
- Movie sounds are highly compressed & artifical so highly accurate speakers and electronics are not required.

Hope this helps.